Ja­pan floods death toll rises to 18

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The death toll from heavy rains and flood­ing in Ja­pan’s south has risen to 18, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day, as rescue teams con­tin­ued their search for sur­vivors. Swathes of Kyushu-the south­ern­most of Ja­pan’s four main is­lands-have been left dev­as­tated after over­flow­ing rivers and tor­ren­tial down­pours swept away roads, houses and schools this week. Thou­sands of peo­ple have been evac­u­ated to makeshift shel­ters in school gyms and pub­lic build­ings, but many re­main stranded, with emer­gency ser­vices bat­tling through thick mud and rain to try to reach them.

More than 500 peo­ple were still cut off yes­ter­day, pub­lic broad­caster NHK re­ported, with col­lapsed bridges and wa­ter­logged ground on steep hill­sides ham­per­ing rescue ef­forts. The gov­ern­ment was do­ing its “ut­most” to re­cover those miss­ing or stranded, Chief Cabinet Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said in a rare week­end press con­fer­ence. Of­fi­cials of Fukuoka and Oita pre­fec­tures said a to­tal 18 peo­ple had been con­firmed dead while 27 were miss­ing or could not be reached. Five peo­ple were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, Suga said, with the gov­ern­ment still try­ing to as­cer­tain if their in­juries were a result of the se­vere weather. Tele­vi­sion footage showed rescue he­li­copters held up at a makeshift heli­port-un­able to fly be­cause of the down­pours, while peo­ple prayed for the safety of their fam­ily mem­bers.

More than 50 cen­time­ters of rain del­uged parts of Kyushu in 12 hours on Wed­nes­day, prompt­ing the Ja­pan Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency to warn of pos­si­ble sig­nif­i­cant dam­age. Rains have con­tin­ued in­ter­mit­tently since, with up to 22 cen­time­ters recorded in Fukuoka in the past 72hour pe­riod. Ja­pan’s weather agency on Sun­day warned of con­tin­ued heavy rains and mud­slides in north­ern Kyushu.


ASAKURA: De­fense forces sol­diers re­move de­bris in a flooded area in Asakura, Fukuoka pre­fec­ture.

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